I am a fan of youth ministry leaders. There is so much that a youth pastor does – volunteer or paid – to help shape the lives of students and families in their churches. At times we might wish we were somewhere else in ministry. But remember that you can be effective no matter the style, size or situation of your church. Life changing ministry in the name of Jesus is possible.
Here are some principles and thoughts for any student ministry leader in any congregation:
1. Our Hope & Desire Must Be In God Alone – it can’t be based on the world’s definition of success. Your heart must be in line with God’s heart. You must love his Word. You must believe he has called you here. And you must put your full trust in him.
2. Have A Heart for Generational Impact – Ministry to students today is going to make a difference in the lives of young adults ten years down the road! Light a fire in the hearts of kids about faith and things of God. Additionally, have a heart for the congregation who is behind you in the mission to disciple the next generation. Invite them along side of you – to pray, support, work. It’s not you and them. It’s us.
3. We must become part of the pastor’s team and vision – Seek to connect yourself to the pastor as the leader of the church. Connect with the vision of the leadership. Support the pastor. Always take the high road when dealing with issues and only bring up tough things privately – not with others in the church.
4. Get a new thought every season – Don’t say, “I’m not creative”. Just work to have at least one new thought or concept every season. Is there a new way to lead the group? A new schedule? A new curriculum? A new aspect of social media you need to master? A creative idea for an outreach event? A new philosophy you can employ? Challenge yourself to be innovative, then try it out.
5. Collaborate with, connect with, and communicate with families – communicating with families is a must for being in it for the long haul. Stay connected with them by all the means you can. Create opportunities and frameworks for families to take part in the ministry.
6. You are all they got – I don’t mean this negatively, but you are it. You are their leader. You are who, for this season, the congregation is trusting to help lead, develop and minister to students and families in the church and community. Work to grow and sharpen your skills, but don’t try to become someone you are not. God needs you, with your unique gifts and passions, for this time in history.
7. Build a team around you – develop people to serve with you. It takes time. It may surprise who you God sends your way. Don’t give up. Enjoy your team.
8. Every church and denomination has quirks. Just pick something and go with it. Not in a hopeless sense, but in a sense that your job and mission as a disciple maker is centered around the work closest to you. You can make something good happen wherever you are despite what quirks are happening in the greater denominational leadership.